MONROE, Ga. - A park named after a Vietnam veteran has fallen in disrepair with graffiti and trash, not to mention several of the facilities closed for years to the public. Residents said it has been this way for as long as they can remember, but now one man is on a mission to bring honor back to park’s namesake.
The gates to the park are open, but a mattress was dumped on a picnic table, the bathrooms are closed off and graffiti layers structures. For Benedict Esposito, this is not a park fit to be named after a veteran.
"It's frustrating. This is one of Georgia's heroes. You can't keep a simple park up," said Esposito.
Three years ago, Esposito stumbled upon the park named for Dennis S. Coker, an Army 1st Lt. who died while serving in Vietnam.
"I thought it was a disgrace. He’s buried five minutes up the road and this park doesn't even have a sign for him. It has one at the service entrance. It's one thing for the park to fall into a state of disrepair because it's old. It's another thing for it to fall into a state of disrepair and have graffiti and trash," said Esposito.
Esposito said three years ago, the graffiti was worse, but he said there is still a long way to go.
"It's not hard to keep people from littering. It's not that hard to pick up the trash. Get the potholes fixed. And just revamp the park. It doesn't have to be Central Park but it needs to be respectable to someone who gave their life for this country," said Esposito.
News Radio 106.7’s Christy Hutchings reached out to the city of Monroe as well as the Walton County Parks and Recreation Department, but as of late Wednesday afternoon, neither agency has responded.